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SCO Professor Glen Steele, OD ’69 is now the newest inductee into the National Optometry Hall of Fame. Dr. Steele was officially recognized by the American Optometric Association (AOA) at their annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri last month for his significant contribution to the profession of optometry, specifically his role in creating the InfantSEE program, which provides no-cost eye exams to infants in their first year of life.
Dr. Steele is SCO’s longest-serving faculty member with a half-century of teaching and providing patient care. Upon graduating from SCO in 1969, Dr. Steele was appointed as a faculty member, while opening his own private practice that he would run for 40 years.
In his 50-year career, Steele is most notably recognized for his contributions to pediatric eye care. Since the founding of InfantSEE in 2005, the program has provided eye exams to 140,000 infants, and nearly 4,000 optometrists across the country currently participate in the program. Its successes include countless early interventions for both minor issues – like lazy eye – and major ones – such as ocular cancers or diabetes – made possible by early detection in an eye exam.
Dr. Steele has authored and presented nearly 30 original papers at the Southeast Optometric Vision Forum on topics ranging from retinoscopy to vision therapy. He also regularly lectures across the world, having led nearly 200 presentations to providers about the importance of infant vision development and care.
Congratulations, Dr. Steele!
Ronald Blum, OD ’72, was chosen to receive SCO’s Doctor of Ocular Science degree and deliver the commencement address to the Class of 2019. The Founder and Chairman of NewSight Reality, Inc., Dr. Blum has founded and led a number of companies, including Encore Health and Encore Vision, which merged and sold to Novartis in 2017.
He also founded and led The Egg Factory, PixelOptics, and Innotech, part of his track record of success as a visionary innovator and businessman. As the inventor or co-inventor of more than 750 patents worldwide, Dr. Blum is one of the world’s leading inventors in the fields of optics, electronic eyewear, and vision correction. He was one of the inventors of eye drops for treating presbyopia and for spectacle lenses that block high energy blue light to provide protection against macular degeneration.
He led and managed the team that invented an developed the Definity Lens, a progressive addition lens acquired in 2005 by Essilor, the world’s largest lens manufacturer. The Definity Lens at the time became the number one selling digitally surfaced progressive addition lens in North America. ‘’
Dr. Blum founded a practice that had grown to be one of the largest multi-location private professional practices in the Southeastern United States. He has served on the Board of Trustees of Roanoke College. Although he stopped examining eyes in 1989, he continues to contribute to advances that improve sight and improve vision care through his active work as an inventor and entrepreneur.
The Hayes Center (HCPE) for Practice Excellence, a vital resource for SCO students and alumni, is pleased to announce its 2019 award recipients for the HCPE Practice of Excellence Award.
The HCPE Practice of Excellence Award is designed to identify and reward successful practices, recognize the achievements made by SCO graduates, and help foster joint relationships that benefit both the alumni and current optometry students.
The Hayes Center for Practice Excellence (HCPE) saw a banner year of interest in its 2019 HCPE Practice of Excellence Award with a record 57 young ODs nominated this year.
The awards are divided into three sections based on the number of years of practice: long-term graduate, midterm graduate and recent graduate. A panel of judges consisting of members of the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence Advisory Board, the Director of HCPE and Dr. Jerry Hayes made the selection.
“All the judges feel secure in knowing the future of our profession is in good hands,” said Lisa Wade, OD ’84, MPA, Director of HCPE. “These alumni are doing amazing things and setting a high bar for their peers.”
Long-term Graduate award recipient (2008-2011) Murray Pratt, OD ’11, practices at Lifetime Eye Care in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mid-term Graduate award recipients (2012-2014) John Nail, OD ’12, and Hannah Schmidt Nail, OD ’13, practice at Curtis Optometry, in Columbus, Mississippi.
Frank Carusone, OD ’16, practices at EyeXcel in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Congratulations to the HCPE Practice of Excellence Award recipients!
L-R: Nathan Hayes, Natalie Hayes, Frank Carusone, OD ’16, John Nail, OD ’12, Hannah Schmidt Nail, OD ’13, Murray Pratt, OD ’11, and Jerry Hayes, OD ’73.
Southern College of Optometry welcomes alumna Jennifer Lyerly, O.D. '11, as one of its newest members to join the college's Board of Trustees.
Dr. Lyerly graduated Summa Cum Laude from SCO and was named Outstanding Clinician in her class. She was also awarded SCO’s Young Alumni Award in 2017 for her service, leadership, and support of SCO. As a native of Clemmons, North Carolina, she was valedictorian at North Carolina State University.
She practices in Cary, North Carolina with a focus on specialty contact lenses. Dr. Lyerly has also cofounded Defocus Media, a social media management company for private practice ODs and is the cohost of Defocus Media Podcast.
Dr. Lyerly is also the founder of Eyedolatry Blog, an eyecare website with a focus on encouraging women’s leadership within optometry. Dr. Lyerly was named one of Vision Monday's Most Influential Women in Optometry in 2015 and was a 2018 Transition Academy's Brand Ambassador of the Year.
James D. Sandefur, O.D. ’65 has been named Chair of the Board of Trustees at Southern College of Optometry after several years of board service to his alma mater, including co-chair of the college’s “Envision Our Progress” fundraising campaign. A 1965 SCO graduate, Dr. Sandefur officially assumed the chair position at the board’s January meeting.
Following his graduation from SCO, Dr. Sandefur founded The Vision Clinic in Oakdale, Louisiana, where he provided care for more than 30 years before selling his practice. During his years of practice, he was one of the first optometrists in Louisiana to serve on a hospital staff.
In 1997, he was named Executive Director of the Optometry Association of Louisiana. Under his leadership, membership in the state’s association has doubled. His leadership helped secure passage of numerous bills that help optometrists better serve their patients.
He has served on numerous committees for the American Optometric Association and received that organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010. He also has been honored by Southwest Council of Optometry (SWCO) for his leadership and received SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 in recognition of his longtime service to the profession of optometry. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Optometry Hall of Fame.